Planning for AIGA's future

Filed Under: About AIGA , governance

AIGA’s strategic framework guides decisions by the board of directors. It includes:

  • Mission: To advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.
  • Vision: AIGA brings design to the world, and the world to designers. As the profession’s largest community, we advance design as a respected craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. From content that defines the global practice to events that connect and catalyze, we work to enhance the value and deepen the impact of design on business, society and our collective future.
  • Goals in four areas of focus:
    • Design: Communicate, celebrate and demonstrate the value of design to business, government, media and the public
    • Designers: Empower designers across the arc of their careers
    • Members and chapters: Engage members and empower chapters to create vital communities and supportive networks
    • Organizational viability: Ensure a well-managed, financially sound, and responsive professional organization

The board uses this framework to relate objectives and AIGA programs to each goal. Annually, the board considers metrics for programs and sets both priorities and resource allocations in the context of the framework.

AIGA has a long history of engaging stakeholders in defining the vision for the organization. In just the past decade:

The continuous research on AIGA members, external trends and the competitive environment from 2005 through 2011 was documented in “What AIGA is doing and why”, a resource shared with key stakeholders as AIGA developed plans, activities and budgets.

A 2008 board committee chaired by Stanley Hainsworth and Kenna Kay developed a concept of an AIGA that reflected the strength of chapter activities and the interests of emerging designers.

In early 2009, AIGA surveyed members, the board and chapters and developed the Mandate for 2014, which was unanimously adopted by chapters at that year’s leadership retreat. This direction has been reviewed and considered each year.

VSA Partners worked with members and chapters in 2011 and 2012 in an effort to recommend changes that would make AIGA more responsive to members moving forward. These recommendations were presented to chapter leaders at the 2012 retreat, where they were widely supported. Wolff Olins reviewed AIGA’s positioning strategy.

In 2013, AIGA engaged Ziba to help develop a strategy for attracting and retaining Millennial designers; that work was the basis for chapter roundtables (informal focus groups) in April 2013.

In February 2013, the AIGA board, past presidents, chapter leaders, experts and designers gathered to begin to define the AIGA they would foresee as a force in the year 2020, using the recently revised mission statement as a starting point. The facilitated exercise was intended to provide a sense of those activities that should guide changes in AIGA beginning with the FY 2014 budget and programs, in order to be strong and relevant in the future. A number of strategic concepts emerged from this exercise and are complemented by directions that surfaced from longer term strategic planning efforts involving members and chapter leaders who anticipated the need for change. They are organized around four broader themes: promote design excellence; build new relationships; earn recognition and influence; listen to feedback to evolve.

A fundamental concept that emerged from participants of the February group was the necessity of creating a member participation network that makes it easier for members to communicate, collaborate and network. Young designers can find mentors; seasoned professionals can find emerging designers as reverse mentors. Developing this capability will involve leveraging the member database and the AIGA and chapter websites to create ways for members to personalize their experience of AIGA and connect with other like-minded members.